Fright Night is a 1985 vampire movie directed by Tom Holland and starring Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, and Roddy McDowall.Charley Brewster (Ragsdale) is a teenage boy who loves watching horror movies on late-night television while making out with his girlfriend Amy (Bearse), who he pretends is helping him study. One night, he sees two men, Jerry Dandridge (Sarandon) and Billy Cole (Jonathan Stark), carrying a coffin into the house next door, and makes the natural (to him) assumption that a vampire has moved in. Soon after, dead prostitutes start being reported, and Charley actually sees Jerry attack a woman while looking out his bedroom window. When Jerry attacks him late one night to scare him away from investigating further, Charley's suspicions are only confirmed.Charley first seeks help from Amy and his friend "Evil" Ed Thompson (Stephen Geoffreys), who both think he's crazy, and then from Peter Vincent (McDowall), former B-movie actor turned host of the late-night horror program Fright Night. After some goading, the four of them arrange to meet Jerry to test whether he's a vampire, though secretly, everyone except Charley is actually trying to "prove" to him that Jerry's not a vampire. However, when Peter notices Jerry's lack of a reflection, he quickly realizes that the boy is right. He and Charley decide to meet up to stake the vampire before he kills him and his friends.Fright Night was followed by a sequel in 1989, aptly titled Fright Night Part II. William Ragsdale and Roddy McDowall reprise their roles as Charley and Peter respectively, with Julie Carmen and Traci Lind joining the cast. Set a few years after the first film, the second movie follows Charley (now attending college) and Peter as they battle the seductive vampire Regine (Carmen), who's out for revenge on both Charley and Peter for their role in Jerry's death, and decides the best way to make Charley pay is to turn him into a vampire. Now it falls to Peter and Charley's new girlfriend Alex (Lind) to save Charley from A Fate Worse Than Death.A remake, Fright Night (2011) starring Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, David Tennant and Toni Collette was released in 2011. It drops the Peter Vincent Becoming the Mask story and turns Charley into a Buffy-type character, with Jerry resembling the evil version of Spike and Peter now a Vegas showman instead of a former actor. Tropes for the remake go on its own page.Both the original and the remake have garnered positive reviews.
The original 1985 film and its sequel contains the following tropes:
Barrier-Busting Blow: In a variant, Jerry shows off his undead muscles by effortlessly lifting open a window Charley had spent the afternoon nailing shut. This, after casually flicking the latch off its frame.
Gross-Up Close-Up: Billy Cole's death in the first one once he gets staked; Belle and Bocworth in the sequel.
Happily Ever After: Debatable. The good news is Peter Vincent and Charley are now aware of vampires and how to stop/kill them, Amy is saved, Charley's mom is fine and the vampire and his ghoul are dead. But the bad news is vampires still exist, no-one will believe them, and Evil is now a vampire with good reason to kill Charley or turn Amy.
In the sequel, Charley was bitten, but the deaths of the vampires just cancel that out.
I Cannot Self-Terminate: A subversion, when Evil Ed yanks Charley's chain by claiming he's been bitten by the vampire and needs to be killed. Naturally, that's exactly what happens to Ed as soon as Charley stomps off in anger.
Idiot Ball: At one point, Charley gets a cop over to Jerry's house on false pretenses and tells him that there is a coffin in the basement, but then lets slip in a near-frenzy that it contains a vampire. Had he instead told the officer that the coffin contained one of the recent unsolved murder victims, then the game would have been over for the antagonists. The man would have found the sleeping vampire (to his eyes, a corpse) in the coffin and arrested Billy Cole for murdering his friend, blowing the pair's cover, or alternately faced far-too-suspicious reluctance from Billy to let him down there. Either way, the rest of the film could not have occurred. Not to mention Charley let The Renfield know he was on to them. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
Jerry himself has a moment like this when he attacks Charlie. Despite already breaking the frame on the door to his mother's room, he stops attacking Charlie and leaves when his mother wakes up, despite the fact that there's no way to interrupt him. Made especially egregious when his mother yells that she can't get out of her room. Jerry could have killed Charlie right there, but instead opts to run and make a threatening phone call.
Our Vampires Are Different: Averted, as the film sticks pretty close to the Classical Movie Vampire. It even takes a note from Bram Stoker that it ain't the crucifix that harms vampires, but the faith being inspired by them. One minor deviation is that Jerry eats fruit, whereas the classic film vampire can only stomach blood. Apparently Chris Sarandon suggested that the guy has a bit of fruit bat in him as well as vampire bat, and the director figured "Hey, why not?" Of course, even if Jerry can't digest apples, they are a good natural way of cleaning teeth.